Stephanie Pincetl
Stephanie Pincetl

Stephanie Pincetl is professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and founding director of the institute’s California Center for Sustainable Communities. She has studied how various factors contribute to wildfires in California, including urban encroachment on undeveloped areas, the state’s aging electrical infrastructure, poor forest management and climate change. She also has addressed common misconceptions about logging versus forest management, and wildfires versus controlled burns.

In the five videos below, which are intended for use in news reports and for the general public, she shares her expertise to answer questions about:

Click on the blue links above each video to see the topics addressed and the timecodes for each answer. Full transcripts and downloadable .m4v files of each of the videos are also available.

A full transcript and downloadable .m4v of this video is available.

  1. Are there more homes in places that are more susceptible to wildfires? (0:34–1:00)
  2. Why are we seeing more fires in populated areas? (1:07–1:24)
  3. How big a factor is rural and exurban development? (1:31–1:53)
  4. Are cities more vulnerable to the effects of wildfires now? (1:59–3:02)

A full transcript and downloadable .m4v of this video is available.

  1. How do the aging infrastructures of electrical utilities contribute to wildfires? (1:00–2:42)
  2. What’s the danger in supplying power for the greatest amount of power use? (2:49–3:45)
  3. How are climate change and urban expansion into wild areas increasing wildfires in California? (3:51–5:34)
  4. How do prior errors in forest management contribute to wildfires? (5:39–6:57)
  5. (a) What would it take to fix aging electrical infrastructure? (7:03–8:28) (b) Does our aging electrical infrastructure need to be fixed or reimagined? (8:34–10:09)
  6. Is aging electrical infrastructure a major contributor to wildfire ignition sources? (10:15–12:01)
  7. Why weren’t power lines a significant contributor to wildfires before? (12:07–13:08)
  8. How are utilities coping with the liability issues? (13:14–14:41)
  9. Is turning off the power a reasonable solution to prevent wildfires? (14:48–15:51)

A full transcript and downloadable .m4v of this video is available.

  1. What policy changes are needed to prevent wildfires? (0:35–1:44)
  2. What are some other risks of building in fire-prone areas, and can we protect against them? (1:51–3:15)

A full transcript and downloadable .m4v of this video is available.

  1. Do wealthy areas see faster fire-response times than poorer areas? (0:34–1:29)
  2. Is firefighting being privatized? (1:36–2:11)
  3. Is climate change a big factor in increasing forest fires? (2:17–3:40)

A full transcript and downloadable .m4v of this video is available.

  1. Will logging help reduce wildfires? (0:34–2:03)
  2. Are there any barriers to thinning out forests? (2:09–3:30)
  3. How do you balance maintaining forests as a carbon sink and oxygen-producer, versus thinning forests to prevent forest fires? (3:39–5:09)
  4. How is controlled burning different from a forest fire? (5:14–6:01)
  5. Are there differences and environmental benefits to managed logging versus indiscriminate or commercially-focused logging? (6:07–7:31)